Dalton Ross on Jackie Chan, drunken master
Jackie Chan is all over the news. And not in a good way. It seems the martial-arts master went to a rock show in Hong Kong recently and stormed the stage in a drunken stupor, demanding that some singer named Jonathan Lee duet with him right there on the spot. According to reports (because I don’t personally make it a habit to attend concerts in Hong Kong), Chan then bragged about being wasted, attempted to conduct the band, and kept making the musicians start over again for no apparent reason. Oh, and then he began insulting the folks in the audience, who by this point were heckling Chan for his behavior.
I have a few points to make about this, to a few different parties. We’ll start with the audience. What’s wrong with you people?!? An international film star bum-rushes the stage, and you boo him? This man is an entertainer, and you cannot possibly tell me that this whole scene was not entertaining. And it’s not like he was busting up a Beatles reunion or something — this is some dude named Jonathan Lee! Now, I’m not trying to dis and dismiss the Taiwanese singer-songwriter, but…well, he’s a Taiwanese singer-songwriter, for crissakes! (By the way, he could be an American singer-songwriter, French singer-songwriter, hell, even a Cambodian singer-songwriter, and I’d say the same thing. The term ”singer-songwriter” just generally makes my skin crawl.) And another question for the audience: What the hell did you expect? Have you never heard of the Drunken Master film franchise, in which Chan played a dude who achieved awesome powers after getting completely drunky-skunky? Granted, his powers at the concert could be deemed slightly less awesome, but still, the pattern is clear: The guy can drink. And you better not mess with him when he does.
And now a message to my fellow members of the press who have been piling on poor Jackie for this lack of discretion: Please, keep it up. Seriously, this whole encounter may be a bit unseemly, but it is far less embarrassing than some of his more recent movies, like The Medallion and The Tuxedo. Anything to distract us from those debacles can only be a positive, at least until Police Story 18 comes out.
And now a word to Jackie Chan: I don’t really have anything to say to you about this whole episode, but while I have your attention, could you please stop making those crappy Diet Pepsi ads with Jay ”Remember When I Used to Star in Movies With Tom Cruise” Mohr? They’re depressing and they make me want to get drunk and storm stages, telling thousands of people to shove it or they’ll be on the receiving end of a death claw to the throat. In any event, I loved you in Rumble in the Bronx (even if the Bronx did sure look a hell of a lot like Vancouver) and hate to see you reduced to shilling for a lame diet beverage with the former host of Last Comic Standing. Let’s talk about a new career plan. Over drinks, which seems to be your preferred method of operation.
OBSESSION OF THE WEEK
Delta House. Fast Times. Ferris Bueller. These are just a few of the less-than-memorable TV series that were adapted from feature films. But every once in a while a M*A*S*H or a Buffy the Vampire Slayer comes along. I didn’t hold out much hope when Blade: The Series debuted a few weeks ago. For one thing, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Blade trilogy. (As far as I’m concerned, Wesley Snipes should have packed it in after advising me to ”always bet on black” in Passenger 57, which I would do if roulette didn’t happen to be a complete sucker’s bet.) For another, it was Spike TV’s first original drama, so I assumed the production values would be pretty lame. But damn if I’m not totally hooked. Yes, it’s gory as hell, and I’m hiding behind a can of Milwaukee’s Best approximately 30 percent of the time, but they’ve crafted a pretty solid story, and how can you not love rooting for an actor who goes by the name of Sticky Fingaz? Plus, there were actually a few twists in the pilot episode I didn’t see coming. When I was looking, that is.
Continuing with my recent proud tradition of being too lazy to come up with my own List ideas and leaning on you dear readers for suggestions, this week’s entry comes courtesy of Laura Calloway, who asks: ”What are your top 5 favorite Simpsons episodes of all time? I realize EW did a top 25 several years ago, but obviously that was decided by a group, and majority had to rule. So what are YOUR top 5?” Oh, Laura, you are most definitely speaking my language. That EW list you refer to was a source of many near-fistfights within the company, most instigated by yours truly. In any event, you asked for it, you got it. Here are the Top 5 Simpsons Episodes of All Time:
1) ”Cape Feare” (season 5)
This is where most of the fistfights began. As we were working on our list, this appeared to be a shoo-in for the top spot. Then, I was out of the office for a few days on paternity leave when my daughter Violet was born, and when I came back, it had suddenly been demoted to No. 5!!! Shocked, I began an immediate campaign to bring it back up to its rightful place as the ultimate Simpsons entry, even demanding an emergency screening of it and all the episodes deemed more worthy. It worked — kinda. I got it back up to No. 3, but fellow EWer Dan Fierman had already brainwashed the rest of the staff in my absence into believing that ”Last Exit to Springfield” was the holy grail of Evergreen Terrace. I am not exaggerating in the least when I say that it still causes me to coil up into the fetal position when I think about this blatant injustice, which is why I am currently typing this entry solely with my left pinky finger while the remainder of my body remains a quaking ball of emotional distress. Two words: Homer Thompson.
2) ”A Fish Called Selma” (season 8)
No. 8 on EW’s list, No. 2 in my heart. ”Planet of the Apes: The Musical” is quite simply the funniest song parody ever.
3) ”Rosebud” (season 5)
This was the other entry above ”Cape Feare” on EW’s list, at No. 2. I can kinda deal with that. Smithers as Bobo is twisted genius.
4) ”$pringfield (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)” (season 5)
Yes, I’m a fan of season 5. What can I say? You’re not likely to find this one on many top Simpsons lists (it didn’t even crack EW’s top 25), but it has some of the choicest lines, including my personal favorite from Homer: ”No, Lisa. The only monster here is the gambling monster that has enslaved your mother! I call him Gamblor, and it’s time to snatch your mother from his neon claws!” Go ahead, call me an idiot, but rest assured — I’ve been called it before, and I stand by this choice.
5) ”Homer at the Bat (season 4)”
It’s heavy on the guest stars, but Mr. Burns is in fine form as a 19th-century-style softball coach, touching his cap not one, not twice, but thrice! In EW, we had it at No. 15, which is where it probably belongs, but I have a soft spot for this charming underdog story.
We received an outpouring of pledges from people offering up their hard-earned money so we can buy the Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum. Of course, I also received an outpouring of ridicule for stating that the museum was located in Juniper, not Jupiter, Fla., but what’s a Glutton column without at least one good typo? We start it off with Betsy…
I would like to pledge my entire savings into the Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum. Who needs more medical research? People are living long enough as it is. Besides, I figure my $12.47 should buy me a place on the board of directors. — Betsy Kilmer
Are you kidding me, Betsy? You are our new CEO! And I’m with you on the medical research thing. Besides, isn’t laughter the best medicine? If so, then most of the items in this museum could freakin’ cure cancer.
While I totally understand the fondness for Milwaukee’s Best, I think Coors would be a better bet for the Burt Reynolds key-to-the-city-flaunting. A touching homage to Smokey and the Bandit and all it stands for in America. — Gretchen Johnson
Here’s the thing about Coors, Gretchen. It always seemed to be much more of a West Coast phenomenon, so growing up in Washington, D.C., with my lack of money and my lame fake IDs, I was much more hip to the likes of Milwaukee’s Beast (that typo is intentional, by the way), PBR, Old Milwaukee, Black Label, Meister Bräu, and yes, even Hamm’s on occasion, if we were feeling a bit saucy. Plus, the Coors ads with that old guy walking around in the snow for no apparent reason kinda freaked me out. But I’ll hoist a Coors (or, what the hell, even a Silver Bullet) if we can save Burt’s pad.
OMG — I can’t believe you mentioned Paradise Hotel, by far the best crappy reality show ever made. I loved how they constantly changed the rules to make sure all the good ”characters” stayed in the house. I worked in a video store at the time and staff and customers alike were obsessed with it. Where’s the DVD, Fox? — Shane Larmand
Wow, I thought EW’s Henry Goldblatt, Mandi Bierly, and I were the only people who appreciated the hilarity of Paradise Hotel and the cheesy stable of contestants who were forced to eventually leave paradise…for-evvvvvvvvvvva. And yes, Shane, I loved the way they constantly messed with the rules willy-nilly just to keep certain people in the ”game.” I also love how they came out with another program the following spring called Forever Eden, which was the exact same show.
My favorite Survivor by far was Australia. Think of all the characters: Colby, Tina, and Co. The fire thing was unbelievable. Colby = Delicious. I will let you have the first season as the best, though. Without it, who knows where the Survivor empire would be. Thailand is definitely the worst. Loved the players in Africa, but the locale sucked. — Rebekah Lovely
Rebekah, you are not alone on the Australia thing. Jeff Probst himself considers it to be just as good as season 1. I agree that there were some good characters and memorable moments, but the boot order was too predictable, and we had to watch that knucklehead Keith for way too long, which is why I had it as only the sixth-best season on my list. I would add, however, that Palau (fourth), Marquesas (fifth) and Australia (sixth) are all pretty close, while (for me) there is a big drop-off before Exile Island, which I have at No. 7.
I hate to be outdone by my sister or my friend, who have both inspired Glutton Lists (sister Miranda inspired the ”annoying catchphrases” List, and friend Dawn inspired the ”TV shows canceled too soon” List), so I have a question for you. Dare I hope it is inspiring enough for another List? My question is, what are the best spin-off shows of all time? This list will be especially challenging, because most spin-offs are so horrifyingly bad. — Heather Delity
Wow, Heather, one of three things is clearly afoot here. 1) You, Miranda, and Dawn have tremendous luck to all make it into this column. Or 2) You, Miranda, and Dawn have really great List ideas. Or 3) I have far fewer readers that previously thought. I had pegged the number at about 12, but I may have to scale that back to single digits. Regardless, I am all about one-upping ones’ friends and family, so not only will I make your query the subject of next week’s List, but to celebrate, I will now come up with my own crazy-hype white-boy rap to celebrate the occasion. Heather, yo, you’re kinda dope/ Now I need a rhyme so I’ll use the word hope/ You came up with a List idea so I can do less work/ Wow, that makes me sound like a big-time jerk/ Check back next week and see what makes the List/ Yo, until then, I’ll…uh… Oh, forget it — this is way too complicated. Later.
Readers, I invite you to send in your nominations for best spin-off shows ever. You can send them, along with any other questions, comments, and quibbles to firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply fill out the handy-dandy order form below. It’s just sitting there, so you may as well use it.